Monday, May 7, 2012
Your Canadiens for May 7, 2012
RICK DUDLEY TO JOIN HABS' FRONT OFFICE
Based on many reports, the worst-kept secret of the past week looks like it'll be imminently resolved. Even before Marc Bergevin was officially announced as the new General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens, many felt that if he were to get the job, he'd bring his good friend Rick Dudley (pictured left) - currently employed by the Toronto Maple Leafs - with him. Well it has become public that Bergevin is in discussion with Toronto GM Brian Burke about bringing Dudley to Montreal, so it seems like only matter of time. How much time, however, may be complicated, as it seems that Dudley has put in significant work in preparing the Leafs for the upcoming entry draft, where Toronto holds the 5th pick in each round just two after Montreal's third selection. Thus, Burke would love for Dudley's transfer to be delayed till after June 23rd, but it also appears that Dudley has an out clause in his contract with the Leafs which may permit him to leave earlier for another opportunity.
In either case, this is phenomenal news for Canadiens fans. Dudley is a top notch talent evaluator and brings a wealth of experience in supporting Bergevin as an Assistant General Manager. If Montreal's front office is to include Bergevin, Dudley, and Trevor Timmins, with potentially a capologist to be added as well (unless Larry Carriere assumes those functions), the Habs' future is in good hands.
CONFIRMED COACHING CANDIDATES
At his inaugural press conference, Marc Bergevin indicated that he wanted to keep his coach search confidential, just as the GM search had been. Well we know that in the end, GM candidate names leaked out one by one (and were subsequently eliminated one at a time), and it does seem we will get news on the coach front in the same manner. A first report indicated that Marc Crawford was set to meet with Bergevin, and now per an Elliot Friedman report, Bergevin is talking to his former team about their intentions on head coach Joel Quenneville. There has been talk of the team not being happy with Coach Q, as he is known, and some fans have even indicated they'd be happy to see him axed. There is no guarantee that he'll be available, since he still has 1 year remaining on his contract, but if he were let go, he would immediately become a top candidate for the Montreal job given his wealth of experience. Before you ask, he attended a French school growing up in Windsor, Ontario, so has a basic understanding of the language, but isn't fluent.
CHL PLAYOFF UPDATE
Two Hab prospects are currently playing in their league finals, with Nathan Beaulieu and the Saint John Sea Dogs facing Rimouski in the QMJHL, and Jarred Tinordi and the London Knights playing Niagara in the OHL.
The Sea Dogs are up 2-0 in their series, with Beaulieu scoring a goal and being named first star in the series opener. Montreal's 2011 first rounder has 13 points in 15 games this post-season, after scoring 17 in 19 in the playoffs a year ago.
London and Niagara are even at a game apiece, with Tinordi scoring a goal and finishing a +3 in his team's game 2 5-3 win. Tinordi's goal is already his third of the playoffs (and 8th point) in just 16 games this season. Over two regular seasons, in 111 games, he also scored a total of 3 goals, so he has clearly elevated his game offensively.
In other news, as this year's host, though they've long been eliminated from the QMJHL playoffs, the Shawinigan Cataractes continue to wait to find out who their Memorial Cup opposition will be. It was revealed Friday that former NHL head coach Bob Hartley will join the team's staff for the tournament. If he is to be considered a candidate to take over in Montreal, then getting some North American experience again after a year in Switzerland, and getting to work with Hab prospects Michael Bournival and Morgan Ellis certainly won't hurt his chances.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS UPDATE
Max Pacioretty is among the early scoring leaders at the IIHF World Hockey Championships with a goal and 4 assists through 3 games for Team USA. He plays on the team's top line with Paul Stastny and Bobby Ryan.
Tomas Plekanec has been productive for the Czech Republic, with 3 assists in 3 games. That ties him for his team lead with the Oilers' Ales Hemsky, who has 3 goals.
Denmark's lack of depth has seen them struggle at the Worlds, but Lars Eller has gotten on the board with two goals and an assist through 3 games. He is averaging over 20 minutes a night.
Also averaging 20 minutes a game is Russia's Alexei Emelin. In 2 games, he has recorded an assist, and is tied for the team lead with a +4 rating.
Among former Canadiens in the tournament, as usual, Mark Streit has been a key cog for the Swiss, with 2 goals and an assist in his first 2 games. Alexander Perezhogin has been an offensive spark for the Russians, with a goal and 2 assists also in 2 games.
At 2-0-1, Team Canada was happy to see Slovakia beat the United States in regulation today, after Canada had lost to the Americans in overtime. This allows Canada to still aspire to win their division, though Finland remains in their path, having posted consecutive 1-0 shutout wins thus far.